The Michigan women’s tennis team had to wait and wait. Traveling to San Diego for spring break, the Wolverines should’ve had the opportunity to play tennis in sunny, beautiful weather. But that’s not what they got. No. 8 Michigan had to wait through nearly a six-hour delay before it hit the courts.
After defeating No. 2 Duke, the Wolverines (1-0 Big Ten, 9-3 overall) looked to keep their hot streak alive against San Diego (3-4).
Michigan stayed mentally tough through the delay and defeated San Diego, 4-2, with constant, strong play.
“I think beating Duke has given us confidence that we can play with anybody,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein.
After nearly six hours of waiting, officials decided the doubles should to be cancelled to make up for the lost time.
“The girls did a great job with (playing under tough circumstances), and the girls came through,” Bernstein said. “Overall, it was a great week for us. It was a rough day, but the other team had to do it as well, and that’s how we looked at it.”
Looking for four singles wins, the Wolverines first turned to their seasoned sophomore Emina Bektas. She‘s been a force in the singles court and showed it again Saturday. Bektas executed her serve-and-volley approach to near perfection, and she dominated Stephanie Hoffpauir, winning 6-0, 6-3.
“(Bektas) plays a big game,” Bernstein said. “She has a very big serve and puts a lot of pressure on her opponent. People are not used to playing girls who play like that.”
Soon after, senior Mimi Nguyen earned her 84th career victory by defeating Cara Brown 6-1, 6-3. Nguyen has been in and out of the singles lineup all season because of an injury and has helped immensely since returning. She‘s proven to be a leader and Michigan’s backbone for the past three years.
“It is important to have Mimi in the lineup,” Bernstein said. “She has won some really big matches for us. If she is in the lineup, it makes us a better team — no doubt.”
But things started to get shaky when freshman Ronit Yurovsky, perhaps one of the Wolverines’ best singles players, suffered her first loss of the dual-match season.
But later, junior captain Brooke Bolender widened the margin by cruising to a 7-5, 6-0 victory.
Up 3-1, the Wolverines needed only one more victory to seal the match. Sophomore Sarah Lee stepped up and earned a convincing victory over Shani Blecher, 7-5, 6-2.
Michigan has now won five straight and will look to continue playing strong tennis when it resumes Big Ten play Saturday versus Wisconsin.
“We have played a tough schedule,” Bernstein said. “We will work hard this next week and get ready for the Big Ten season. We are confident and are looking forward to it.”